Minimising the spread of office germs as the seasons change

We’ve just stepped into autumn here in England, which means winter is just around the corner. With the change in season comes cosy nights in and an excuse to eat an excessive amount of chocolate, oh and the army of bacteria-riddled germs that make an appearance every year to descend upon your innocently unassuming immune system.

Offices and shared working spaces are a breeding ground for the bugs and viruses that make it their sole purpose in life to make getting out of bed on a frosty winter morning that little but more unbearable. Shared toilets, communal kitchen facilities, keyboards, telephone receivers and door handles are just some of the places that germs love to hang out while selecting their next unsuspecting victim so it’s important that you have a plan of action in place to up your defences.

Keep a hand sanitiser on your desk

These handy pocket-sized bottles of alcohol gel are now available from almost any pharmacy, convenience store and supermarket so there’s really no excuse not to keep your hands clean and germ-free. These are great for throwing in your bag to stay hygienic on the move for when you’ve been out and about at meetings and are returning to the office for the afternoon. They’re also perfect for keeping on your desk for use throughout the day when you’ve used the phone or your keyboard for a long period of time, visited the loo or even just fancy freshening up.

Wash your hands plenty of times a day

While hand sanitisers are great for killing off harmful bacteria, it is also advisable to up the amount of times you wash your hands each day when nasty germs are particularly rife. When the biscuit tin gets passed round for elevenses and again at 4pm to battle the late-afternoon slump, if everybody has made a conscious effort to disinfect their digits first, you can drastically reduce the spread of bacteria. Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water every time you visit the toilet and before you eat to increase your chance of staying snot-free this season.

Implement a strict cleaning regime

Some bigger offices are lucky enough to have a dedicated cleaner who comes in on a daily basis to give the place a good once over, which is great for fighting the spread of germs. However if your place of work is much more modest in size or doesn’t have the luxury of a cleaner then we advise that you get a strict cleaning rota in place pronto. If you and your colleagues are left to your own devices and responsible for your own cleanliness, devise a regime where you all work together to ensure that your space is cleaned thoroughly at least once a week to reduce the spread of illness.

Keep your personal space clean

When you’re super busy and snowed under with a never-ending list of ‘things to do by the end of the month’, it can be easy to let hygiene take a bit of a back seat. But if you want to stay germ-free and fighting fit for the festive season, you need to ensure that you dedicate a little bit of time to keeping your personal space spick and span. The phrases ‘every little helps’ wrings particularly true when it comes to workplace cleanliness and halting germs in their tracks so keep a packet of antibacterial wipes to hand and give your personal space a quick wipe down every morning before you start work and every night before you leave the office.

Take sick days when you need them

Most of us will battle on through the most merciless of illnesses just to make sure we stay on top of our to-do lists and that everything is in full working order for the busy season. However, dragging yourself into the office when you’re at death’s door is both counterproductive to your professional performance and a risk for your fellow employees. Do you really want to be held responsible for the entire workforce coming down with a winter flu, leaving the workload abandoned, clients in disarray and poor sales when it comes to the next quarterly review?

Okay, maybe we’re being a little bit dramatic but you get the drift – staying on top of germs during the colder months is crucial for keeping yourself and your team members free of illness to ensure your business stays as efficient and productive as it is during the rest of the year. Happy sanitising!

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